Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

I didn't think I'd manage it, but here it is ... a Christmas post. Nothing like a last minute deadline....

I finished the hand quilting on my Four Block applique quilt and bound it just in time to hang it with the Christmas tree.

I'm just so glad I returned to hand quilting again - different technique and tools - and finally found a way that is pain free for me and totally enjoyable. Here are some closeups of the quilting - not perfection in hand quilting, but it has the soft traditional look that I'm striving for.

And when I say "not perfection" that includes nicking the background with my scissors (insert ladylike expletive at the time) - not just once, but twice - making two little holes! So repairs were required - one I darned as it seemed easiest, and the other was too big and needed a patch. Here they are and the truth is that, in the big picture, they won't get noticed so why worry?

Hole darned

Hole patched
Stars meet Hexagons: 
I finished making daisy chains of hexagons and appliqued them around the border. With a red binding I think that will do. 
I'm thinking of trying big stitch hand quilting on this one. That will be my second venture back into hand quilting and I'm quite excited to try with the thicker thread - Aurifil no 12 perhaps. There are a gazillion seams in this top due to all the little English paper pieced diamonds and hexagons - so I am expecting it might be tougher to stitch through...we'll see. 

Benjamin Biggs wedding quilt:  Block 12 finished - a relatively simple one this time. 

A lot of December busyness has revolved around some landscaping work at home and I now have a wonderful new section of lawn rolled out. The original lawn in this part of the garden was really not a lawn - just an expanse of dust and weeds that the local rabbits had turned into a rabbit warren. Am so thrilled with it now:
The rabbits must have been in shock at the sudden change, but now they hop around on it and munch the grass - but no digging (touch wood). 
Hard to believe the difference the colour green makes - it sets off the hydrangeas like never before.

Hope all your Christmas preparations are going well. I've pretty much done all I'm going to do before The Big Day. After spying some wonderful creations on Pinterest I was going to be whipping up some 'easy' but very impressive Christmas cupcakes. That was the plan and this was my preparation - looks promising? 

Well they turned out either too dry, too moist or too flat, and I won't even start on the various icing failures... not good. Some clever people make it look so easy, sigh.

But I did manage to create a double batch of these (using my homegrown raspberries).

Thanks for all the encouragement and quilting inspiration throughout this year - it has been a wonderful adventure for me.

Have yourselves a Merry little Christmas and all the very best for the New Year. 
He feels like I felt after my cupcake failures!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Colours of the Season

Just by chance I seem to be working in Christmas colours at the moment - definitely going through a 'red phase'. I doubt there will be another finish before the end of the year but two projects are getting close.

Stars meet Hexagons ( my version of the quilt from the book 'Promenade in a Dutch Garden')

The centre is finished and all papers removed. Now for the outer border.

First I stitched on a 6 inch solid border in a dark beige/ light tan shade. 

I love the antique Dutch quilt on which this pattern was based - with its amazing applique border. Here is a picture from the book.

I pulled out some red fabrics (toiles and florals) to see if I could maybe, perhaps, give a broderie perse applique border a try - but it wasn't working for me. So what to do? 

I fussy cut the fabrics and prepped 1 inch English Paper Pieced hexagons - the same size used in the centre of my quilt top.

...and made some 'daisy chains'. I'm sure you can guess where this is going. Hopefully there will be more to show next post.

Meanwhile I have really enjoyed hand quilting my Four Block Applique quilt - and true Christmas colours there. 

Here is the quilt with all outline hand quilting done - around every applique shape. In this light my thoughts are "not nice, not nice at all - definitely more quilting needed!"

Adding some centre grid work to the blocks:

Adding parallel lines on the background. For this I am marking only by scoring the fabric - it shows up beautifully in the hoop and disappears under the stitches. 

I've discovered I can download library audio books onto my ipad and listen as I stitch - what a fabulous free service ! I can hand applique, hand piece or knit while watching TV - but I just cannot hand quilt and watch. So the audio books are perfect. 

A friend and I had a do-it-yourself Christmas Card workshop at my house - hoping for a patchwork look with fabric and stitching. It was lots of fun but I'll not be making a business of it - strained my creativity to the very limit!

Here is Benjamin Biggs Wedding quilt Block 11. 

Yep - that looks a lot like Christmas too ?! 

The end of year get-togethers have started - always nice to round-up and catch-up with family. Hope you are enjoying the Season !